Shannon M. Graper

Shannon Marie Graper, 45, of Dubuque, went to the embrace of Jesus on Monday, May 22, 2023, at MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center with family surrounding her.

Visitation will be Friday, May 26th from 9:30 to 11:15 am with a Celebration of Shannon’s Life at 11:30 am at Hoffmann Schneider & Kitchen Funeral Home & Crematory.

Shannon was born November 16, 1977, in Iowa City, IA, the daughter of Ronal and Ruth Graper. Despite her disability and numerous health issues, Shannon lived a life of adventure in numerous states and in England. Due to the onset of what would become a lifelong battle with mental illness, Shannon moved from England to Dubuque, Iowa to live with her aunt and uncle, Lynn and Ken Helmke, who were able to facilitate increased support services for her. They were a tremendous support throughout her life.

Shannon graduated from Hempstead High School in 1997 and soon after moved into an apartment with agency assistance. She loved boot-scooting/dancing, animals, crafting, praise music, and making cards to express love to others. She treasured family and was most happy when having family time. Hills & Dales staff and friends became Shannon’s second family. Shannon’s faith in Jesus was paramount in her life and was reflected in her love for others as well as daily spending time reading her Bible and journaling. She loved her church family at Hope Church, and part of her legacy is Hope Church’s special needs ministry, SHINE, that was started because of Shannon’s persistence.

Shannon will be remembered by her beautiful smile, frequent hugs, Kings on the Corner card games, and frequent response to compliments with, “I am, aren’t I” or “I do, don’t I”- often while wearing pink or purple.

Survivors include her father, Ronal Graper, Maquoketa; mother, Ruth Graper, Dubuque; grandmother, Ann Philippi, Dubuque; brother, Cory (Jolene) Graper, Rapid City, SD; sisters, Jill (Gustavo) Hernandez, Lubbock, TX, Jessica (Shawn) Hilborn, Dubuque, Elizabeth (Carl) McCoy, Rochester, IL, nieces and nephews: Jasmine, Jordan, Madison, Alathea, Sofia, Ethan, Emma, Ella; and several beloved aunts, uncles and cousins.

Shannon was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents and maternal grandfather.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established to Hills & Dales.

A special thank you to Hills & Dales staff, Dr. Michael Peroski, MercyOne Psychiatry Department, and Hospice of Dubuque.

A photo tribute can be viewed and condolences sent to the family by visiting Shannon’s obituary at

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